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Hundreds gathered on Sunday at Faneromeni square to join their voices as part of the One Billion Rising movement to protest violence against women by spouses and partners.

Holding signs proclaiming “short skirts don’t cause rape, rapists do” and “your silence is their greatest weapon”, among other signs, protesters marched across the Onasagorou and Ledra streets in old town Nicosia.

Organised by the Cyprus Women’s Lobby under the auspices of Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou, the event sought to raise awareness of the scope that violence against women has taken in Cyprus, but also to urge both men and women to take a daily stand against it.

The state, the organisers said, must also take immediate action to fulfill its obligation to provide security and support to every woman who is a victim of abuse (physical, sexual, or psychological).

According to the organisers, in the last 15 years in Cyprus, there have been over 30 murders of women by a partner or an ex-partner. According to data from the Association for the Prevention and Combating of Violence in the Family (SPAVO), 89 per cent of incidents of domestic violence during 2017 involved women.

Additionally, the organisers show that violence against women is becoming worse, as in 2018 the 1440 victim support line received a total of 14,404 calls, with the number having increased from the 12,833 calls received in 2017.

In January, the council of ministers approved the creation of a Home for Women, a centre that will host a variety of professionals for the medical, legal and psychological support of female victims of violence.

The approved proposal, tabled by Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou, foresees a centre where victims of violence and abuse, as well as their families, will have access to help from medical staff, clinical psychologists, social workers and specially trained police officers, among others.